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|New Enclosed Bubbling Water Features|
The relaxing and soothing qualities of bubbling water features make them ideal additions to healthcare milieus like hospitals and mental health clinics. One of the reasons we don't find more of these in healthcare institutions are the strict regulations in place governing infection control. In response to this situation research has been conducted in regards to using water features in healthcare environments and certain factors have been shown to significantly reduce the problems with placing water features in healthcare facilities. We will discuss some of these safeguards below so an informed decision can be made by infection control boards and other responsible parties when considering using a water feature in their facility.
Open Vs Enclosed Water Feature Types
One of the major determinants of whether a water feature can be utilized in a healthcare setting is whether the water is open to the air or enclosed. It is possible, although rare, for bacteria like Legionnaire's Disease to grow in an open water feature and exit the feature in a splash or water mist and subsequently transmit to patients. An enclosed feature greatly reduces this possibility and a sealed feature eliminates this risk for all practical purposes. This is one of the primary reasons bubble walls are so popular in hospitals. The enclosed or sealed nature of the water is far more likely to pass quality control guidelines. Bubble walls have always been enclosed due to their very design which use flat panels of acrylic sandwiched together to hold water between them. Air is pumped out through holes at the bottom which rise to the top and result in the beautiful bubble display we see. The top of the wall has a lid or cover that can be removed to fill the water and clean the inside as necessary.
Healthcare Safe Water Features
Recent innovation nw includes completely encapsulated and sealed bubble walls which are much safer then the old enclosed models. These recently introduced products exceed all ASHE, AIA, DA-138 and FGI recommendations for quality control. Another benefit of encapsulated water features is that they do not require regular maintenance. A closed loop system ensures that nothing can get in and nothing can get out.
Pathoban AG254™ Anti-Bacterial System
Open water features, although not encapsulated or enclosed, can be made more safe then they would otherwise be by adding on extras. A Saniguard® coating can be applied to metal surfaces that helps eliminate water bourne bacteria. A Reverse Osmosis water filtration system can be installed that processes the incoming water through a series of filters. This ensures that only top quality water enters the system and this improves the overall health of the water feature. Finally, an ultraviolet light can be used inside the water reservoir that helps eliminate and prevent micro-organism growth in the water. Another helpful addition is a drain to work together with the auto-fill and Reverse Osmosis system. Although these system components are excellent at cleaning the water and preventing problems, flushing out the water feature and adding fresh water is easy to do with an auto-fill and also gives a certain piece of mind not achieved through other methods. One of the interesting things about implementing water quality control safeguards is that when several techniques are used in conjunction with one another they have a cumulative effect and the likelihood of a problem is reduced substantially over what one would expect from using each safeguard in isolation.
Bubble Walls Soothe The Mind
The relaxing effects of a bubble water wall are undeniable. Prolonged contemplation of a bubble feature engages and captures the attention. This engagement occupies the mind and pushes out of awareness other thoughts that may be anxiety provoking. This is why bubble walls are so great for hospitals, especially in waiting rooms, where people may be anxious about upcoming medical treatment and don't have much to distract their mind while waiting. Bubble features are primarily visual in nature, and although they do create a peaceful hum as the result of thousands of air bubbles being released simultaneously, and are not engineered to provide a source of white noise or water sound. This quiet operation can be a benefit in busy environments where added sound could create too much stimulation in an already hectic milieu. Adding to the visual appeal is the use of internal lighting with either soft fluorescent type illumination or crisper LED style bulbs. Lighting is useful during the day as well as at night. Light flow through the water panel increases general visibility and gives the bubbles shine and glow. Most people prefer the simplicity of clear light but some also prefer LED bulbs that can provide color as well. Color LED's can change the overall mood of the feature and make it fit better into diverse environments like bars, restaurants, nightclubs and businesses that use color as a branding technique.
Sizing and Proportion
A final consideration in adding a bubble wall is their ease of installation and the simplicity in getting any size required. Bubbling water panels can be either wall mounted or floor standing. They do not require a water line for filling and maintenance is minimal. These things make bubble features excellent candidates for institutional settings that may not have the time and personnel to attend to the features on a regular basis. Finally, unlike a stone waterfall, bubble walls can be easily specified in any size and the panels manufactured in a seamless panel, while finding natural stone slabs in larger single stone sizes can be particularly difficult due to their rarity.
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